SAN FRANCISCO — In what may be the first such action by a U.S. city, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Jan. 24 passed a powerful resolution condemning HR 4437, the draconian anti-immigrant measure now on its way to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HR 4437 “will do some very scary, chilling things — not only making all undocumented people in the U.S. into felons and criminalizing a whole class of people with the stroke of a pen, but also penalizing U.S. citizens and legal residents who have routine contacts with the immigrant community,” Supervisor Chris Daly told a press conference on the City Hall steps before the Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

“That is why I have introduced a resolution strongly condemning this legislation and asking our Senators Feinstein and Boxer to take very strong stands to kill this bill in the Senate.”

Calling HR 4437 “reminiscent of Senator McCarthy’s ‘red scare’ of the 1950s,” Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi warned that the legislation not only makes immigrants vulnerable, “but it is about the whole melting pot that made this country great to begin with.”

“This is so reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan,” Supervisor Sophie Maxwell said of the Minutemen anti-immigrant armed vigilante group. “Since when does our government say it is okay for people to take the law, to take guns, into their own hands?” she said. Maxwell sharply criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s expressions of support for the Minutemen last year, and called on the state attorney general and the Legislature “to do whatever is possible” to ban future activity by the Minutemen in California.

Renee Saucedo of the San Francisco Day Labor Program and La Raza Centro Legal warned that civilian militias are targeting day labor centers around the country and pledged that San Francisco would continue to support driver’s licenses for all, “a decent and dignified path to legalization and protection for all workers regardless of immigration status.”

Saucedo told the World that San Francisco immigrant rights organizations plan to meet with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Judiciary Committee, urging her to work to kill HR 4437.

“The Minutemen are the symptom of a much greater problem,” said Sheila Chung of the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, adding that reform to fix the “broken” immigration system must include family reunification, protection of civil and workers’ rights, and a path to citizenship.

Provisions in the resolution reiterate San Francisco’s long history of welcoming immigrants, reaffirm earlier “City of Refuge” and “INS Raid Free Zone” resolutions, and support the city-funded day labor program. It condemns HR 4437 and urges other local and state governments to follow suit; calls on local, state and national governments to condemn and protect against anti-immigrant violence; and urges immigration reform upholding the rights of all residents regardless of immigration status.

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